Commanding countermounts

Beer sales rebounded strongly in several major markets around the world once Covid restrictions ended. Our Industry Report takes a look at the return of demand for draught.

With draught beer usually comprising nearly half of all beer sales here, last year has been described as another “challenging year” for the sector (in common with the rest of the beer world).

Nevertheless, once Covid restrictions ended, beer sales rebounded strongly in several major markets around the world and IWSR forecasts that beer will add significant value to total beverage alcohol over the next five years.

With the lifting of Lockdown, countermount space has once again become the on-trade battleground for draught beer brands. And the consumers’ return to the pub in search of much-missed draught beer seems to be making this battle all the more acute.

Added to this, draught product has been attempting to further reverse the hike in packaged product sales that resulted from Lockdowns.

With the demand for draught returning so strongly since Covid-19 restrictions were eased, research from market insight consultants CGA found that as visitors to the on-trade here seek the draught serves they missed during Lockdowns, draught LADs have increased their market share by 3.3 percentage points over the first quarter of 2022 and now account for 85% of all category sales — although there are signs that growth may be slowing as consumers get back to pre-Covid habits.

Sub-category trends

While beer’s share of the alcohol market tends to stay steady all year round, significant sub-category trends can be followed.

In the UK, as drinkers seek more refreshing drinks, standard lager takes an extra 0.4 percentage points of beer sales in the Summer period, reports CGA in looking at out-of-home Summer drinking trends.

Premium World Lager takes even more (0.6 percentage points) and – given its popularity there so far in 2022 – it’s likely to flourish over the next few months in the UK.

Lager’s Summer growth tends to come at the expense of other beer sub-categories like stout.

CGA Strategy found that in the UK, “Sales are back to 96% of 2019 volumes while value has returned to 100% – higher than analysts predicted”.

CGA also found that the proportion of UK lager drinkers had risen from 25.1% in April 2021 to 27.3% by August last year.

“Punters are being driven into pubs because they’ve missed out on socialising, the atmosphere and of course a great pint of draught beer – something that simply can’t be replicated at home,” stated the UK’s On-Trade Director at Heineken UK Stephen Watt.

Here, CGA’s On Premise Measurement data shows that draught serves have increased their share of the Lager segment by six percentage points from 2020 as a result of consumers choosing draught beers that they weren’t able to recreate during Lockdowns at home.

Elsewhere, CGA’s Opus survey shows that while over a third (39%) of Lager drinkers consumed packaged product when out and about last August, this is much lower than the 73% of drinkers who chose draught.

“After months of being limited to packaged Lager at home, it’s no surprise to find that drinkers have embraced draught serves since pubs and bars reopened,” says CGA’s Client Director for Ireland Sian Brennan.


Although still a small segment of the beer market, No Alcohol Beers/Low Alcohol Beers have proved a lucrative market segment for brewers and publicans. In the UK NoLos have seen a 22.5% growth in value according to CGA, with 31% of consumers stating that they’d drink NoLo beer.

And one third of drinkers find alcohol-free beer “appealing”.

What’s more, NoLo Alcohol drinkers visit pubs more frequently compared to the average beer drinker – 53% versus 43%.

“Gen Y and Z drive the No and Low Alcohol category harder than any other demographic, with 46% drinking less alcohol,” notes a KAM Media’s Beer Drinking Habits UK report from last January, “Gen Z drink No and Low Alcohol products more than Millennials – 50% compared to 43%.

Overall, the two groups are drinking more alcohol-free beers than their more mature peers, with 17% of Generation Y and Z drinkers tapping into the trend. Again, Gen Z lead the charge with 21% drinking more no alcohol beers compared to 14% of Gen Y.”

"Our recent study on the consumer path-to-purchase shows that 43% of Long Alcoholic Drink drinkers are influenced by tap handles when making their drinks choices in on-trade."

“Our recent study on the consumer path-to-purchase shows that 43% of Long Alcoholic Drink drinkers are influenced by tap handles when making their drinks choices in on-trade.”

Innovation key to promoting sales

Generation Y & Z are an important demographic for pubs and drive sales in key categories, frequently drinking in the on-trade, new research from KAM Media from January 2022 indicates.

Its Beer Drinking Habits report finds that 50% of Generations Y & Z in the UK drink beer in a pub or bar. 33% of them drink beer in a restaurant and 25% will drink more beer in pubs in 2022.

What’s more, when going out, 36% of Gen Y&Z say they want to see a greater choice of beers with an ABV of between 3.5% and 5.5% when going out.

A quarter look for more options they consider ‘sessionable’.

The UK’s Millennium drinkers in particular were labelled brand promiscuous but in reality, states KAM Media, 49% of them would like more Premium options, with only 5% being brand disloyal. Some 14% have brands they stick to but they are prepared to try something new.

Premium brands

Premium brands accounted for £1 in every £2 spent on draught beer in the UK in 2021, up from £1 in every £3 in 2017. This represents an on-trade opportunity since Premium Lager’s on-trade sales values in the UK grew by 5.7% year-on-year in 2021 according to CGA Strategy.

Despite draught lagers still accounting for nine in 10 on-trade serves in the on-trade, draught beer is likely to become even more popular through the Summer months.

And countermount visibility remains an important factor in influencing the consumer.

Jonathan Jones, CGA’s Managing Director for the UK & Ireland summed it up when he stated, “Our recent study on the consumer path-to-purchase shows that 43% of Long Alcoholic Drink drinkers are influenced by tap handles when making their drinks choices in on-trade, while 40% say they are more likely to purchase a brand if they see it is served in a branded glass”.

Estrella Damm (Spain) on draught

When August and Melanie Kuentzmann fled the Franco-Prussian war, they settled in Barcelona and here, in 1876, they founded the Damm brewery.

Today, after more than 140 years, their legacy continues with the global reputation of Estrella Damm, available here in Ireland from Noreast Beers.

The beer was originally brewed with a lighter character to suit the Mediterranean climate and palate and is a perfect accompaniment for the finest cuisine in Spain, Europe and worldwide.

Punk IPA is where the BrewDog revolution began

This scene-stealing flagship is an India Pale Ale that has become a byword for craft beer rebellion, synonymous with the insurgency against mass-produced, lowest common denominator beer. Punk IPA charges the barricades to fly its colours from the ramparts – full-on, full-flavour at full-throttle.

Layered with New World hops to create an explosion of tropical fruit and an all-out riot of Grapefruit, Pineapple and Lychee before a spiky bitter finish, this is the perfect Summer drink.

The 5.6% trans-Atlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.

This fresh full flavour natural beer is our tribute to the classic IPAs of yesteryear. The post-modern twist is the addition of fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, sales are at an all-time high and we don’t see the rebellious Punk IPA slowing down anytime soon.

Elevating the moment of Italian passion and flair with the refreshing taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro

Peroni Nastro Azzurro delivers a uniquely Italian uplifting and refreshing taste. Made from a variety of Premium ingredients Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s signature Nostrano dell’Isola maize is grown exclusively for the brand in the heart of Northern Italy.

As the first of a new type of beer made for export, higher quality and brewed with Italian craftsmanship and symbolic of true Italian style, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is ranked #1 for Quality, Taste and Style and has seen an uplift of 16% in Draught Pouring Accounts on the Island of Ireland in 2022.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro found that POS is a key driver in consumer interaction and glassware has also been proven to lift sales by 15%, with 21% of Irish Peroni consumers saying that glassware is important vs just 15% of Irish Lager drinkers​.

With a bittersweet taste that’s light but never hollow, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is a crisp and refreshing beer with unmistakable character and a touch of Italian style. It offers a delicate balance of bitterness and citrus aromatic notes combined with a surprisingly fast and clean finish.

Heineken0.0 challenges status quo with disruptive new campaign

A new campaign from Heineken0.0 aims to evolve the non-alcoholic category and liberate Irish consumers to reach for 0.0 options while socialising.

The team at Heineken0.0 enlisted the help of interagency partners Publicis Dublin, Red Star Media and Thinkhouse for the ‘Zero explanation needed’ campaign which is rooted in an insight particularly pertinent in Ireland, that people often feel pressure to drink alcohol when socialising – even when they prefer to go alcohol-free.

They don’t want to face the questions surrounding ‘why’ they’re choosing 0.0 options, but why should they have to justify their drinking choices? Heineken0.0 now empowers consumers to choose non-alcoholic options, with zero explanation needed
Out-of-home ads are popping-up in cities across the country.

The campaign also features a national radio and digital-audio series. These relatable scenarios, set in a pub, make light of those familiar ‘not drinking’ situations on a night out.

“There’s a huge positive movement towards more choice and moderation in Ireland” said Heineken0.0 Brand Manager Anna Walsh, “but we still have a journey to go in making Heineken0.0 a choice for whenever you fancy a beer.

“We want to eliminate any sense of the ‘odd-one-out’ feeling that Irish people may sometimes experience when choosing 0.0 options.

“The focus should be about what really matters… the people and having the craic.”
Heineken0.0 is available in draught, bottle and can format in pubs and restaurants nationwide.


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